The Vikings entered the 2012 regular season with three quarterbacks who had less than a season’s worth of combined starting experience. While that lack of experience showed up throughout the season, particularly when Christian Ponder needed to be replaced during their playoff game in Green Bay, their playoff appearance indicated that the struggles on offense were not nearly as many and devastating as most of us thought they would be.
Christian Ponder played all 16 games of his second season in the NFL and boasted a 10-6 record when all was said and done, which was good enough for second place in the NFC North, and a playoff berth. Vikings fans eagerly awaited Ponder’s first full season as the team’s starter and couldn’t wait to see him take a huge leap forward in his progression. While Ponder did improve from 2011 to 2012 in almost every possible statistic, the leap seemed more accurately described as a baby step, and even the most optimistic of Vikings struggled to identify a game in which he took over and dominated in a way that provided much hope that he is a true franchise quarterback.
His best game was his last, the season finale against Green Bay, where he came out of the contest with a career best quarterback rating of 120.2, after throwing for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Even while posting those numbers, however, Ponder still managed to be overshadowed by the record-chasing Adrian Peterson and led some to wonder why he wasn’t able to take advantage of that elite ground game earlier and more often.
Ponder attempted 483 passes in 2012, completing 62.1% of them. He converted for 2,935 yards and 18 touchdowns while suffering 12 interceptions and taking 32 sacks. The season ended with him having an 81.2 quarterback rating.